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The early 1980s were a time of introspection and restructuring for universities. Faced with demographic projections indicating a decrease in university enrollment during the 1980s, many universities raised the possibility of cutting back on programs and faculty in order to survive into the 1990s, when the next mini-baby boom is expected.

This period was also marked by changes in emphasis in federally funded research, as well as by new initiatives in the Earth sciences. Industry requirements for trained seismologists were very high initially but were substantially reduced in later years.